STEM Learning in Citizen Science Projects and Programs
In citizen science (also known as Public Participation in Scientific Research, or PPSR) projects, non-scientists participate in the process of scientific research. They can develop new technologies for monitoring environmental quality, discover new galaxies, or analyze data to understand the impacts of climate change on birds in their neighborhood. This page provides a brief overview of resources about the intersection between citizen science and STEM learning that can be found on InformalScience.org, as well as links to other relevant resources and communities.
Search the Repository
The InformalScience.org repository is a collection of descriptions of funded awards from various federal agencies, research and reference materials (including grey literature such as conference presentations), and evaluation reports related to STEM learning outside the classroom. This can be a starting point for conducting literature reviews, strengthening grant proposals, learning about best practices, and making the case for your programs.
In order to filter your search to citizen science resources, use the Advanced Search option on the homepage, and under the Learning Environment field, select “Citizen Science Programs.” You may also use search filters to specify target audiences, scientific content, funding, and more.
Examples of Funded Projects
These are some abstracts of projects that have been funded by agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA. To learn more about funding opportunities and deadlines, visit the Funding and Calendar pages.
- Citizen Science Embedded Assessment
- COASSTal Communities of Science
- Collaborative Research: Exploring Engagement and Science Identity Through Participation--A Meta-Analysis of Citizen Science Outcomes (EESIP)
- Crowd ID: Collaborative Tools Connecting People to Biodiversity through Social Networks and Machine Learning
- Enhancing Informal Learning Through Citizen Science
- I-Corps L: Leveraging Citizen Science Pathways To Connect Millions Of People With Citizen Science Tools
The following papers explore the role of citizen science in the STEM learning ecosystem.
- Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design (2018) - This report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine discusses the potential of citizen science to support science learning and identifies promising practices and programs that exemplify the promising practices. This report also lays out a research agenda that can fill gaps in the current understanding of how citizen science can support science learning and enhance science education.
- Citizen Science: Activating STEM Learning Out Of School
- Contribution of Multimedia to Girls’ Experience of Citizen Science
- Finding Pathways to More Equitable and Meaningful Public-Scientist Partnerships
- Galaxy Zoo: Motivations of Citizen Scientists
- Learning* through Citizen Science: An Aspirational Vision and Ten Questions to Prompt Reflection on Practice
- Monitoring Marcellus: A Case Study of a Collaborative Volunteer Monitoring Project to Document the Impact of Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction on Small Streams
- Motivation and learning impact of Dutch flu-trackers
- Motivations, learning and creativity in online citizen science
- The Promise of Community Citizen Science
- Public Participation in Scientific Research: Defining the Field and Assessing its Potential for Informal Science Education
- Public Participation in Scientific Research: A Framework for Deliberate Design
- Volunteer recruitment and retention in online citizen science projects using marketing strategies: lessons from Season Spotter
- Youth-focused citizen science: Examining the role of environmental science learning and agency for conservation
Evaluation is a set of approaches and techniques used to make judgments about the effectiveness or quality of a program or treatment; to improve its effectiveness; and to inform decisions about its design, development, and implementation (National Research Council 2010). It can be used to help make the case to funders about the effectiveness of specific programs or interventions. You can learn more using the Design Evaluation tab on InformalScience.org, read the User’s Guide for Evaluating Learning Outcomes for Citizen Science, or see evaluation in action by browsing the following evaluation reports from citizen science projects.
- Developing a Citizen Science Model to Engage Members of Underrepresented Minority Groups Exploratory Study Final Report
- Driven to Discover Summative Evaluation Report
- Evaluation of 2016 Centennial BioBlitzes Outcomes for Participants and National Parks
- Evaluation of Fieldscope: A Geospatial Collaboratory for Informal Science Education
- Promoting Rigorous Citizen Science: Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) Evaluation Report on Citizen Impact
Professional Associations, Networks, & Platforms
- Citizen Science Association
- Citizen Science Network Australia
- European Citizen Science Association
- Blog Post - 2015 Citizen Science Association Inaugural Conference: Updates From The Field
- Blog Post - Advancing Citizen Science: Q&A with Caren Cooper
- Knowledge Base - Citizen Science Programs Advance Public Understanding of Science
- Blog Post - Embracing the Vision of Citizen Science: An Historic Opportunity for Science Centers
- Blog Post - The Evolving Field of Citizen Science: Q&A with the Citizen Science Association
- Blog Post - Learning through Citizen Science: An Aspirational Vision and Ten Questions to Prompt Reflection on Practice
- Knowledge Base - Measuring Participation in Online Learning Environments
- Blog Post - Spotlight: The Crowd & the Cloud